What Keeps Your CEO Up at Night?
Ever wonder what really keeps your CEO up at night? Knowing the answer may inspire you. After interviewing more than 1000 CEO’s, Presidents and chair men and women across the globe, The Conference Board CEO Challenge® in had the answer:
1. Customer Relationships
2. Operational Excellence
3. Human Capital
4. Corporate Brand and Reputation
As obvious as some of these may sound, Customers – Operations – Employees – Branding – Products, here’s the surprising result: The top ranked objective was, believe it or not, Human Capital. If that’s not exciting enough, let’s take the results one level deeper. The survey also asked CEO’s to identify their strategies for addressing each challenge. Here’s where it gets really good.
When considering Human Capital, (the top strategic priority) the way CEO’s will leverage growth opportunity is through developing employee engagement strategies and creating a performance-based culture.
CEO’s Will Focus More On Helping You Than Ever Before
This is huge! That means, statistically speaking, CEO’s will focus on you more than ever before – specifically how to get and keep you engaged as well as create a performance management system that helps you succeed. They want to optimize their greatest resource (that’s you) and will invest in programs such as leadership development, recognition and advanced training to do so.
If you’re already part of the senior leadership team within your organization, you know designing and managing performance and engagement programs is all the rage. Learning how to do so will set you apart from the rest of executive row. This is no longer reserved for the HR team. Strong leaders have succession planning in mind every day.
Brief Note: In a previous blog I addressed the puzzling question Christians face in our corporate roles: Should we be more about performance or grace? You can find the article [here] if you missed it.
Employee Engagement is Key!
So, why is employee engagement getting so much attention? According to Al Benowitz, Vice President of Growth and Development at the Worcester-based Employee Engagement Group [here], “It’s about discretionary effort. Satisfaction is about getting. Engagement is about giving. The company provides discretionary effort back to employees who extend discretionary effort. Companies want to invest in those who are no longer set on just getting stuff.”
He then stated what’s become something of a catch phrase in human capital discussions these days, “The war for talent is over. Talent won!”
Companies pay big money and much attention to employees who have invested in themselves, their own talents and their own attitudes. Benowitz says, “It’s about whether you are kicking butt, just observing or sinking the boat.” According to Benowitz, these are words their customers actually use to describe employees.
How Engaged Are You?
How engaged are you in your current company? Remember, satisfied employees are there to get while engaged employees are there to give. Sound familiar?
In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
How’s that for a change in perspective? Many times we ponder more about what the company is prepared to give us than what we are ready to give them. We often hold back as Christians out of fear of getting caught up in the pursuit of wealth or unrighteous ambition. Other times we think the company could care less about us so we care less about them.
Yes, there are of examples of those who worked 20+ years at one company only to get laid off when economic trouble swept in. There are examples of executives who were cut from the plan when a new CEO arrived. I even know one CEO who was let go when a new Chairman of the Board took over. It does happen.
And yet, in my experience as a Christian, an employee and an executive coach, I have seen the overwhelming majority of organizations tend to reward those focused on making a difference and doing so passionately. A positive, empowered, cooperative attitude changes how you are perceived; as does a doubtful, negative, argumentative one.
How to Impress Your CEO
If you want to be the recipient of the investment CEO’s are making in Human Capital for 2014, make sure you differentiate yourself from other staff:
– Refuse to get tangled in complaining
– Come to work every day with a skip in your step
– Read the periodicals in your industry
– Talk about them with your leadership team
– Gain an understanding of your company’s financial situation
– Better yet, know how profitable your own department is
– Take learning courses that will benefit you and your company
And, most importantly of all, let your leadership team know you are interested in taking the next step in your career.
It’s time we Christians, fully focused on the Love of God, Faith in Christ and Hope of an eternal reward, make a real difference in the marketplace. Go for that promotion with all your energy and take Christ with you. Become the leader that doesn’t exist in corporate America today – one of compassion, commitment, determination and love. Let your gentleness be evident to all as you step up the ladder and show the business world you can be holy and righteous and successful at the same time.